The Order of Thermopylae
(Badge image created by Lord Kieran Blake)
Second Constitution for the Order of Thermopylae:
I. There shall exist in the Barony of the Citadel of the Southern Pass an award, known as the Order of Thermopylae, which may be given by the Coronet, subject to the pleasure of the Crown, to those persons who have shown skill-at-arms and demonstrated the highest ideals of chivalry and honor on the field of combat.
II. The holders of the award shall be styled as Defenders of Thermopylae and shall be entitled to place the initials D.O.T. after their names.
III. The insignia of the order shall consist of a medallion bearing the registered badge of the Order: Azure, a double headed axe argent between two piles inverted Or.
IV. Arms and Precedence
A. The award shall carry with it, subject to the pleasure of the Crown, an Award of Arms. Companions of the order shall take precedence after principality orders but before a simple Award of Arms.
B. If the award is given to a person who bears an award carrying higher precedence than given above, his/her precedence shall remain unchanged.
C. If the award is given to a person who has previously received an Award of Arms, his/her precedence shall date from his/her election to the Order.
V. Amendments to this constitution shall be made by the Coronet after due consultation with the Crown.
VI. The companionship of all previous recipients of the Order is hereby confirmed.
By our hands this 12th day of September, A.S. XXII, being 1987 in the Common Era.
Jochen, Baron Monika, Baroness
Artan I, Rex Tara, Regina
Erasimierz Waspanieski, White Stag Principal Herald)
By our hands this 18th day of July, A.S. XXXIII, being 1998 in the Common Era
Berold, Baron Eirianedd, Baroness
Hrothgar II, King Madigan, Queen
Pendar the Bard, White Stag Principal Herald
History of the Order:
The Order of Thermopylae takes its’ name from the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 (BCE). Unlike its’ two earlier related orders, the name is in English and not Latin. The battle was a great example of the Spartan way of life in that the greatly outnumbered Spartans held true to their oaths to defend the pass of Thermopylae from a greatly outnumbering force even though this meant their virtual extermination from the field of battle. The battle axe as the principle charge of the badge reflects the great strength of the weapon and the individuals who receive the Order.
The inverted piles upon all the badges of the Order signify the Pass which the Barony of the Citadel eternally guards. Our mundane city was first named by the Spaniards as El Paso del Norte or the Northern Pass since they had begun their conquest of the region from the south in Central America. The Citadel of the Southern Pass was named for the southern most Pass in the Rocky Mountain chain in the Kingdom of Atenveldt which we were a part of at the time.
When a person or persons takes the Baronial Thrones, they become the head of the Baronial Orders whether they create those Orders themselves or the Orders are already established. They may not be an actual member of the Order, but they are the head of said Order. At times, as is the case below, the incoming Baronial Coronet, in this case Berold and Bahiyyah, felt it was necessary to elevate one of their predecessors into an Order which their predecessors had created.
During the reign of Berold and Bahiyyah, one of their items of business as Coronets of the Citadel was to admit Baron Jochen into the Order of the Defenders of Thermopylae at a Kingdom Fighting School hosted by the Barony with not only admittance into the Order but also the gift of a battle axe like unto the one upon the badge with the Spartan epitaph etched upon it for his devotion to the art of armored combat. Baron Jochen was instrumental in helping start the Kingdom Fighting School concept during his reign as Coronet and was a past principal of the Order having established it during the first Baronial reign.
When the Order was originally confirmed, the Barony was not quite four years old. The original constitution has in its’ wording the insignia of the Order being ‘subject to the approval of the SCA College of Arms’. The badge for the Order was approved on 14 September 1988 during the reign of Rutor & Morgana, almost a year to the day the original constitution was signed.
It was one of two of the original three constitutions of the Baronial Orders to specify that recipients must already be armigers. This was the last of the Orders created during the reign of Jochen and Monika.
The second constitution written for the Order was done during the Baronial Reign of Berold and Eirianedd (she whom we all know now as Bahiyyah). During this time all of the Constitutions of the Baronial Orders to date were re-written to bring them up to date as far as heraldry and precedential position were concerned. The second constitution includes the approved badge of the Order.
The Premier of the Order was Lord Vanard of the Skilled Hands and his induction took place on November 7th, 1987. His induction happened ten months before the badge of the Order was passed. The next inductees were Lord Ruter Rotbart von Rothenburg and lord Friedrich of Stormhill, again before the badge was passed. The first member of the Order to receive admittance after the badge was passed was Lord Eric Blaxton on the 24th of September 1988, just ten days after the badge was passed.
[Link] to the most current listing of the members of the order.